- Class Trust was developed to solve the most common trust management headaches.
- The software automates tasks, standardises processes and captures complete information on income and corporate actions.
- The time savings delivered may assist practices to scale up their trust services offering.
By Andrew Russell
For years, Class Limited has been helping accountants better manage SMSFs and investment portfolios with Class Super and Class Portfolio cloud-based software. But as we listened to our clients discuss the pain points in their businesses, we identified a clear need for a comprehensive, cloud-based solution for investment trusts.
In response, we have developed Class Trust, a solution that uses our Class Engine as its foundation. It is the result of Class applying its expertise at driving efficiencies via automation.
The need for such a tool is widespread. There are already about one million trusts operating in Australia. They are the vehicle of choice for many tasks, from running a business to buying shares and property, to managing wealth transfer between generations. The benefits they offer for managing income and capital flow, along with tax effectiveness, are widely accepted.
What are the headaches for trust administrators?
Yet despite the prominence of trusts in so many tasks, our clients told us that trust management was still largely a manual administration process. In many cases, specialist trust-management accountants process the work. In others, most trust management is processed in Excel.
We then looked more closely at the day-to-day frustrations of ongoing trust administration and management. Accountants told us the most common challenges they experience include obtaining trust information, reconciling capital gains and income, and obtaining source documents. The preparation of trust distribution resolutions, financial statements and tax returns are also a headache.
Automating tasks improves operating margins
Our goal for Class Trust is to deliver efficiency and increased operating margins by simplifying and standardising the fragmented approach accountants now follow. For example, the platform standardises the administration process for discretionary, family and unit trusts and can bulk process corporate actions.
Up-to-date data is core to this improvement, not only to reduce the risk of errors from manually preparing financial statements and tax returns, but also to capture complete information on income and corporate actions.
We knew we had the capability to deliver frequent and valuable updates and functionality that would deliver time savings and continually improve efficiencies for our customers.
We are a multi-product developer making significant investments in each of our platforms, and we fulfil our responsibility of ensuring that any new product remains at the forefront of the space we are entering.
How accountants helped develop Class Trust
We developed our new Class Trust product working closely with our customers. Throughout the development process we tested the software’s functionality and sought iterative feedback from some of Australia’s leading accounting practices.
Accountants loaded real trusts and data onto the platform and worked with Class for more than a year on refining the solution. The testing ensures Class Trust can significantly improve a business, no matter its size.
The potential return on investment
For accounting practices, replacing a legacy approach to trust administration with purpose-built technology takes planning and resources. But given the size of the investment trust opportunity – and the opportunity cost of time spent on back-office tasks instead of client relationships – the potential return on investment is substantial.
By introducing the capacity to handle more business and provide higher quality service for clients at the same time, Class Trust can help accounting firms scale up to meet the expected demand for investment trust services.
"Class Trust can help accounting firms scale up to meet the expected demand for investment trust services."
Whether your practice is just getting started with cloud-based innovation and automation or you’re already using several technologies, a trust administration solution is a natural next step to support the growth of your business.
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